Weather Forecast


Chili Hubbub supports local food shelf

The Lakes Tavern and Grill was among the restaurants represented at 2016 Chili Hubbub. (Bulletin file photo)1 / 7
Visitors to 2016 Chili Hubbub could get balloon hats -- no matter how old they are -- as part of the festivities. (Bulletin file photo)2 / 7
About 350 people turned out for the first Chili Hubbub fundraiser for Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf. The event was held March 13, 2016, at Guardian Angels Catholic Church in Oakdale. Visitors got to taste several different kinds of chili, and vote for the winner. (Bulletin file photo)3 / 7
The Chili Hubbub also featured free music by local artists. (Bulletin file photo)4 / 7
Ronnally's Pizza owner Diana Ehlerz served up some chili during the 2016 Chili Hubbub fundraiser for Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf. (Bulletin file photo)5 / 7
Folks who came to Chili Hubbub got to sample ten different kinds of chili, and vote for their favorites. The chili by Lake Elmo Inn staff won last year's contest. (Bulletin file photo)6 / 7
Lake Elmo Inn Executive Chef Ed Douglass and Sous Chef Matt Johnson joined Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf Director Greig Metzger on stage at the first Chili Hubbub fundraiser event for the food shelf. Lake Elmo Inn was named winner of the 2016 chili contest. (Bulletin file photo)7 / 7

A simple albeit key observation has been made after more than three decades of service by the steadfast volunteers and staff at Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf: The food shelf serves a lot of families.

So when Troy Miller of Minuteman Press came up with the Chili Hubbub, an idea for recruiting the next generation of supporters, the basis of his thought process centered around families helping families.

Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf started as the brainchild of Dick Wolff and a partnership of seven churches in the Woodbury and Oakdale area, which supported neighbors in need of food with many individual donations with few solicitations. With growth comes the need to ask for money.

Since CCEFS's inception in 1983, the organization's means of fundraising has shifted in some ways. Originally, the food shelf took a receptive approach, while serving 10 to 20 families a week.

"When that number becomes 130, that's a whole different deal," said Greig Metzger, executive director of CCEFS.

While thankful for the incoming volunteers and donations, the organization needed an influx of cash to stabilize the growing operation and drive financial support. In 2016, leaders in the local business community came up with an event — the Chili Hubbub — to engage residents at a reasonable price.

"The nexus of the event was to engage the community and families, and a recognition that we need more money so we can serve more people," Metzger said.

The 2017 Chili Hubbub is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 12, at Guardian Angels Catholic Church, 8260 Fourth St., Oakdale.

The chili cook-off will pit defending champion Lake Elmo Inn against Lakes Tavern & Grill, Red Rock Cafe (Sheraton), Wayback Burger, Ronnally's Pizza, Tamarack Tap Room, Ze's Diner, Bierstube, Famous Dave's, Scheel's Catering, and Green Mill.

This year's Chili Hubbub includes a macaroni and cheese competition, in addition to a chili contest.

Human foosball is new this year. The competition, running from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., offers up to 16 teams of 10 or fewer people each. Entry cost is $200 a team, and each team member receives a ticket to the Chili Hubbub. The winning team receives a package of restaurant gift cards.

The event includes live music and kids entertainment, as well as beer, soda and sweets available for purchase.

The music lineup includes Leonard McCracken and Dave Carpenter at 11 a.m., Roady Tate at 11:50 a.m., Acoustic Cocktail (Steve and Lori Wietecki) at 12:40 p.m., Double Down Daredevils at 1:30 p.m., Esther Gullixson at 2:20 p.m., and Why Worry? (Bob and Glenda Niemiec) at 3:10 p.m.

The committee of the 2017 Chili Hubbub includes Metzger, Clint Jamison, Laurie Levine, Matthew Johnson, Troy Miller, Robin Anthony, Amanda Lathrop, Sandie Engstrom, Bob Niemiec, Alison Young, Theresa Janechek and Jill Theirl.

The committee started Chili Hubbub in March because it's Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign, an initiative by which the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches has encouraged local residents to restock the state's food shelves each year since 1982.

"Our goal is to expand the universe of people who support us," Metzger said.

The Chili Hubbub is meant to raise people's awareness of CCEFS.

"You're doing something for a great cause," Metzger said.

The cost to attend the 2017 Chili Hubbub is the same as last year — $10 for adults, free for children ages 12 and younger.

Businesses may sponsor the Chili Hubbub at the Jalapeno, Serrano, Tabasco and Habanero levels. Sponsorships are available for the best-chili ballot, kids entertainment zone, main stage and human foosball tournament.

CCEFS serves Woodbury, Oakdale, Landfall and part of south Maplewood. CCEFS is located on the lower level of Woodbury Lutheran Church, 7380 Afton Road. It is open from noon to 4 p.m. Mondays, 3-7 p.m. Thursdays, and 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Fridays.

For more information, go to or send an email to